Today we are sharing a wonderful and encouraging guest post from our friend Alisha of The Masterpiece Society.
Listen to the audioblog here:
Charlotte Mason motherhood: Creativity and your soul
In her book, The Hidden Art of Homemaking, Edith Schaeffer writes,
“Christians should be conscious of the fact that we are created in the image of God, and should recognize the importance of living artistically, aesthetically, and creatively, as creative creatures of the Creator. If we have been created in the image of the Artist, then we should look for expression of artistry, and be sensitive to beauty, responsive to what has been created for our appreciation…
The fact that you are a Christian should show in some practical area of a growing creativity and sensitivity to beauty…
People so often look with longing into a daydream future, while ignoring the importance of the present. We are all in danger of thinking, ‘Someday I shall be fulfilled. Some day I shall have the courage to start another life which will develop my talent,’ without ever considering the very practical use of that talent today in a way which will enrich other people’s lives, develop the talent, and express the fact of being a creative creature.”
Many years ago I read the above passage and felt a sudden pang of regret. I was a young homeschooling mama of three children, doing my best to stay on top of the lessons, keep the house semi clean, and make sure everyone was well fed and clothed. I was a good wife and mother: loving, giving, self-sacrificing, and a bit empty inside.
You see, I had immersed myself in the homeschool lifestyle and wanted to give my children the best well-rounded education I possibly could. And of course, I was conscientious to make sure I met the needs of my husband. Not to mention, that as a pastor’s wife I was continually giving to members of our congregation.
I just forgot to give to myself.
So when I read the words of Mrs. Schaeffer, I was struck by just how empty I had allowed my soul to become. Please realize that I am not speaking of my spirit. I was diligent to spend time in the Word and prayer on a regular basis. But my soul (my mind, emotions, and especially, my creativity) was depleted.
I was looking “with longing into a daydream future, while ignoring the importance of the present.” I was putting my needs and desires aside and “thinking, ‘Someday I shall be fulfilled…’”
I was always creative from a small child, but somewhere in between having my own children and homeschooling them, I forgot the importance of taking time for myself to replenish my soul. I stopped using my creativity which had always fulfilled me in countless ways.
I think this happens to a lot of mothers. By nature, we are givers. And with so much to do and so many little ones needing every moment of our attention, we begin to feel guilty about doing something for ourselves. However, if we don’t take the time to pull away from the daily routine and replenish our own souls, then we won’t have anything to give to those we love most.
Reading Edith Schaeffer’s words inspired me to begin finding ways to be more creative. I began sketching again. I took art classes (both local and online) to improve my skills. I made time just for myself. And my soul began to feel alive again. Eventually, I began an art-based business that has been a tremendous blessing to our family.
Using our God-given creativity is one of the best ways I know of to replenish one’s soul and experience a sense of joy and fulfillment. Even if you feel like you “don’t have a creative bone” in your body, you do.
You don’t have to be an artist to express the creativity that’s deep within you. All you have to do is acknowledge the fact that you are created in the image of God—he’s the ultimate Creator and his creativity is inside you. Then begin to draw from that well of creativity within you.
Creativity brings tremendous joy! (Not the outcome, as much as the process.) It gives you freedom of self-expression. It restores a sense of balance to your life. It relaxes and de-stresses you, which in turn, improves your health. Creativity encourages continual growth because you’re learning new skills and using them to express your own uniqueness.
And creativity gives you a sense of connection. In order to improve your skills, you will begin to connect with other women who can teach you and help you along. In turn, you can do the same for others. You will exchange ideas, techniques, provide feedback, and encourage one another. This develops a strong sense of community and connection which can be deeply rewarding.
I encourage you to take time to replenish your soul and use your creativity on a regular basis. (There are so many ways: art, crafting, photography, knitting, crocheting, sewing, embroidery, baking, decorating, etc.) There’s really no limit to creativity. As you do, your “cup” will be filled and begin to overflow. And you will have an abundance to give to your husband, children, and friends and family.
As an artsy-craftsy mom, I embraced the Charlotte Mason educational philosophy early on. (Somehow I doubt Miss Mason was as messy as me, but…let’s cut ourselves some slack as creatives, right?)
Living books, poetry, and nature studies drummed out the rhythm of our days…but how on earth was I supposed to make art study happen on a regular basis? Sure, there were local art teachers (pricey), a handful of video courses (which unfortunately made my kids snore), and the stack of art books on my table loomed dangerously beside my antique table lamp.
I didn’t just want to expose my kids to art—I wanted them to experience it.
It wasn’t until my own kids were older that I finally had the time and bandwidth to do something about what I believed was a gaping void in the area of online art for kids and teens. So I pulled out my art supplies, grabbed a camera, and finally put my years of creative “me time” with a paintbrush to use. I began offering a full art curriculum (playful exploration of art + art appreciation) to other busy moms…and guess what?
My own kids (now 24, 22, and 18) have embraced the messy, fun art life too…and together we’re helping other moms like you explore art with your kids in a fun, memory-making way.